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An estimated start date for the construction of a new $400 million rail track servicing Port Botany has been pushed back to next year, a new report has revealed.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) released a submissions report this month about its proposed $400m Botany Rail Duplication project, addressing concerns raised by the community and stakeholders who could be impacted by the development.
The proposal is seeking to build a 3km new track between Botany and Mascot to transport freight containers on the existing Botany Line and is currently being reviewed by the NSW Department of Planning.
The site of the proposed Botany Rail Duplication project.“The majority of the existing Botany Line has twin tracks with the exception of the section between Mascot and Botany. This single line section currently constrains the ability for freight to enter and depart from Port Botany concurrently,” the proposal read.
“The primary objective of the Botany Duplication Project is to increase capacity along the Botany Line to meet the forecast growth in demand for container freight transport to and from Port Botany.”
As well as a new track, four new bridges would be built along the line at Southern Cross Dr, O’Riordan St, Robey St and Mill Stream.
The Federal Government has contributed $400 million for the project.
Part of the single-track portion of the Botany Line.The report released this month stated the estimated start date for construction had been moved back to between April and June 2021, with estimated completion in 2024.
Construction had initially been proposed to start in late 2020.
The report also responded to concerns by community members who lived near the railway.
The proposal plans to increase the use of the line to about 45 trains per day (per direction) by 2030 compared to 20 trains per day (per direction) currently.
About half of the community submissions, received during the public exhibition period late last year, raised concerns about noise and vibration impacts.
Sites of the four new bridges proposed in the plan.One community submission suggested that a noise barrier should be constructed along the entire length of the line in front of residential apartment buildings to restrict the noise.
Another suggestion was residential properties that face the rail line should be provided with double glazing.
The Government-owned ARTC, tasked with overseeing the project, responded in its report and said that steps would be taken to restrict the noise.
“The design strategy already considers track lubrication, which if well maintained has been proven to substantially reduce wheel squeal and other curve related noise,” the submissions report read.
It also stated that an Operational Noise and Vibration Review could be done in the future and result in other measures being taken.
Permanent land acquisition is proposed (in red).“Several different noise mitigation options would be considered as part of this (review) including noise barriers (noise walls or earth mounds) and upgraded glazing and facade elements at surrounding properties.”
Most of the project would be kept within the existing Botany Line corridor but some land acquisition is included in the proposal.
That includes “the partial permanent land acquisition of seven properties” which does not include any existing homes.
“The impacted land is largely vacant with the exception of some large advertising billboards,” the proposal read.
The proposal also stated that Port Botany is NSW’s only container port, moving more than 6000 containers on average each day, as well as its largest bulk liquid and gas port.
This article first appeared on www.dailytelegraph.com.au